Revealed: One of the few Australian businesses trying to buy a top-level domain name

Applications to buy a top-level domain name closed on May 30 and while very few Australian businesses were prepared to cough up the $185,000 application fee, we’ve found one businessman who did.


Glenn Ruscoe, part owner of Perth physiotherapy practice Riseley Physiotheraphy, has applied for the .physio domain, which he plans to sell to physiotherapists worldwide.

Ruscoe told SmartCompany he decided to apply after reading about the move by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to sell off the top-level domain names.

“I was reading the newspaper one morning when I heard about the ICANN initiative and I thought, ‘That’s fantastic’, I want one of those for my practice website,” he says.

“I thought no one would do it in our profession and I thought if they wouldn’t I would.”

Ruscoe did not think any other physiotherapists would apply for the name as they are “generally conservative” and have a “lack of entrepreneurism” as they are generally focused on their patients rather than business.
He was not deterred by the $185,000 application fee, as he believes that selling the domain name to other physiotherapists will make the .physio domain a profitable business.

“As I read the newspaper article I was thinking what is the next business move for me, with $185,000 I could buy a house and have one tenant, which makes me $20,000 a year or I could have 20,000 tenants paying $100 – so it is a much better business model,” he says.

“The potential is there, as my research shows there are 700,000 physios in the world, so 20,000 is in the realms of 2% or 3% of this.”

If Ruscoe is successful, he believes setting up the registry and marketing the domain name will cost about $450,000.

“The market is very easily identified; it is physiotherapists with an online presence,” says Ruscoe.

“The primary method of marketing will be through the physiotherapy associations. I will look to set up reselling opportunities with them and it will become another source of revenue for the professional organisations.”

In the meantime, Ruscoe has set up a website,, where physiotherapists can register their interest in buying one of the .physio domain names.

Ruscoe says it is important for physiotherapy as a profession to claim the domain named .physio.

“I’m aware of applications for the domain names for .doctor, .law and .medicine and .physio needs to be in that space,” he says.

“For individuals, it enables them to succinctly identify themselves to the world. It is a virtual calling card in a phrase ‘’.”

Although he will not find out until June 13 whether any other businesses have applied for the domain name, Ruscoe thinks he will be successful.

He says he kept the application process “very quiet” until applications closed on May 30 so he would not create a competitor and has industry backing, with his application endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.

“I suspect I am the only applicant, as I have received endorsement from World Confederation for Physical Therapy and they have advised me that nobody else has applied for their endorsement,” says Ruscoe.

“I sought the endorsement because as part of the ICANN application you need to demonstrate support from the community you are going to be representing. I guess they trust me to do this well on behalf of the profession.”

Ruscoe says that in the best case scenario that his application is approved, it will be nine months to get the .physio domain up and running, with the domain operational in early 2013.

Melbourne IT assisted Ruscoe with his application and the new domain’s registry services would be provided by ARI Registry Services.

However, Ruscoe is one of the few Australians to apply for one of the top-level domain names with the majority of the names likely to go to international companies in the first round of global allocation.

Melbourne IT and ARI Registry Services, part of the AusRegistry group, have been acting as agents for 307 organisations looking to secure a domain name. Only a quarter of the 146 applications Melbourne IT has processed are for Australian businesses and organisations.



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